Honda, Nissan and Toyota in massive recall
April 11th, 2013
06:32 AM ET

Honda, Nissan and Toyota in massive recall

Japanese automakers Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Mazda are recalling around 3.4 million cars due to airbag defects.

Toyota said it was recalling 1.7 million cars around the world, including some popular Corolla, Matrix and Camry models. Nissan recalled around 480,000 cars, while Mazda added another 45,000.

Honda, which is recalling more than 1.1 million autos, said the recall was necessary to replace passenger front airbag inflators.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Automobiles
Ram 1500, Cadillac ATS picked as best of the year
January 14th, 2013
07:31 AM ET

Ram 1500, Cadillac ATS picked as best of the year

The Ram 1500 and the Cadillac ATS were just announced as best truck and car of the year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

The Ram won for the 2013 Truck/Utility of the Year and the Cadillac ATS was chosen as the 2013 North American Car of the Year. The Ram 1500 had already won the Motor Trend Truck of the Year honors, one of the more prestigious car or truck awards.

Cool cars from the Detroit Auto Show

New Corvette Stingray unveiled

The car collector's ultimate garage

Avis to buy Zipcar
January 2nd, 2013
07:34 AM ET

Avis to buy Zipcar

You may have a few new options if you need to borrow a car for a weekend: Avis is acquiring Zipcar.

The price tag for the purchase is $500 million. But the traditional car rental company hopes it will be money well spent.

Because Zipcar currently doesn't have enough cars to satisfy customer demand on the weekend, Avis is hoping to step in and beef up the number of options for customers.

You can read more about the deal at

Ford posts $1.6 billion profit despite big European losses
Ford reported an overall profit of $1.6 billion despite mounting losses in Europe.
October 30th, 2012
08:24 AM ET

Ford posts $1.6 billion profit despite big European losses

Ford Motor reported earnings remained steady from a year ago as strong results at home helped balance out the soaring losses in Europe.

The company lost $468 million in Europe, bringing its losses there so far this year to just over $1 billion. Ford had already warned last week that it stood to lose than $1.5 billion in Europe this year.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Automobiles
August 28th, 2012
10:36 AM ET

With accelerator jammed at 120 mph, woman fears imminent death

A police dashcam video shows a dark SUV flying past cars and blowing through construction.

The driver's 911 call tells the rest of the story:  Lauri Ulvestad, utterly terrified, frantically steering a 2011 Kia Sorrento with a jammed accelerator taking it to speeds up to 120 mph.

“I told the dispatcher to tell my family I loved them,” Ulvestad, 47, told by phone. “I did not think I was going to make it.”

Ulvestad credits dispatcher Kelly Brieg with keeping her calm and ultimately saving her life.


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Carroll Shelby: Patron saint of muscle cars
Carroll Shelby was a visionary who put the American-made muscle car on a global platform, says CNN's Greg Morrison.
May 11th, 2012
09:14 PM ET

Carroll Shelby: Patron saint of muscle cars

Where have all the heroes gone? That question popped into my mind Friday when I learned that Carroll Shelby had died at age 89.

To automotive fanatics like myself, Shelby was the hero of performance cars, starting in the mid-1960s when the Mustang, Camaro and Barracuda dominated our imaginations. Shelby took the Ford Mustang to a level never even considered with the Cobra and Cobra GT models.

While most of his fame came from his modifications of Mustangs, Shelby also shared some of his genius with Chrysler for a few years. While there he took an Omni and converted it from a commuter car to a fire-breathing monster that nearly went airborne when pushed to the limit.

Shelby was more than a gearhead and racer. He was a visionary who put an American-designed, American-built muscle car on a global platform. His appeal was more than mere mechanics and was clearly demonstrated a few years ago when Ford unveiled the latest version of the Mustang on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto show. FULL POST

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After exec's arrest, St. Louis paper slams Alabama on immigration, courts Mercedes
Mercedes, Alabama's largest exporter, says it's responsible for 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region.
November 23rd, 2011
12:35 PM ET

After exec's arrest, St. Louis paper slams Alabama on immigration, courts Mercedes

It’s not often that a newspaper can attack another state, pontificate on a hot-button national issue and deliver a targeted economic development pitch in one go.

That’s what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board did Tuesday with its open letter, “Hey, Mercedes, time to move to a more welcoming state.”

News surfaced this week that police in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, recently pulled over a man because of a problem with a tag on his rental car. The man, who was German, didn’t have handy what the state considers proper identification, so he was arrested under a provision of Alabama’s immigration law, which is considered the strictest in the land.

Turns out, the man was Detlev Hager, a 46-year-old Mercedes-Benz executive traveling on business. About 10,000 people in the region rely on the company for their livelihood, according to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, which happens to be the state’s largest exporter.

Hager – one of 66 people charged with not having proper identification since October 1 – had his charges dropped after an associate tendered Hager's passport and German driver’s license, the Tuscaloosa News reported.

Not before the Post-Dispatch took its shot, though.


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Filed under: Alabama • Auto Industry • Automobiles • Civil Rights • Courts • Economy • Immigration • Jobs • Politics • U.S.
September 28th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

UAW members ratify deal with General Motors

Members of the United Auto Workers union have voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with General Motors Co.

The vote was 65 percent in favor of the agreement among production workers, and 63 percent in favor among skilled trades workers.

The UAW and General Motors reached a tentative deal nearly two weeks ago.

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Your Take: Obama's job plan was 'more of the same' or 'light' of hope
President Obama told lawmakers that they should quickly pass his plan, the American Jobs Act.
September 9th, 2011
11:08 AM ET

Your Take: Obama's job plan was 'more of the same' or 'light' of hope

In a speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama told lawmakers to "stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy" by quickly approving a $447 billion package of measures so he can sign it into law.

"The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we'll meet ours," Obama said to applause. "The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy. The question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning."

In detailing the plan, he noted that there was nothing controversial in the bill and that everything was paid for. He spoke specifically to the need to get the economy up and running, help those who are unemployed, and give incentives to businesses that hire the unemployed and groups that are chronically underemployed.

How did you feel about Obama's job plan? We took a look at widespread reader comments, iReport reactions and Twitter reactions to the speech to see whether Obama presented a plan you liked, that you felt would work, or if he disappointed you. More than 16,000 reader comments (as of this post) came flying in, along with numerous iReports and tweets.

Robert Hallman told iReport that as a teacher a substitute teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, he's going to be looking for jobs once he starts an alternative teaching program.

When the president spoke about his job plans, he specifically referenced jobs for military members and teachers, something Hallman was happy to hear.

"If there will be more teaching jobs, that would be good for me," he said. "I have friends in the military as well as some college friends who might benefit by increased job opportunities."

Hallman praised Obama's speech, especially in comparison to how he felt Obama handled the debt ceiling issue, and was hopeful that this speech and bill would change things around.

"During the Deficit Ceiling negotiations the President was a no show, a non participant. He just let the two parties bicker, fight, and whine just like a room full of Kindergartners. Tonight the President had a strong showing. He told the members of Congress that they NEED to work together because WE the the People demand nothing less," Hallman wrote. "Overall the President showed us something that we haven't seen in a long time. A politician with belief and conviction."


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Update: GM family still cranking out cars
The extended Green family of Lansing, Michigan, has worked for GM for a combined total of more than 300 years.
September 6th, 2011
02:22 PM ET

Update: GM family still cranking out cars

Thanks to you, the Green clan is still cranking out cars in Lansing, Michigan.

CNN introduced you in November 2008 to 10 members of the family who had provided a collective 300 years of service to General Motors and the United Auto Workers union. GM's future was hanging in the balance as the federal government weighed whether to save the automaker with an infusion of billions of taxpayer dollars.

"We're not asking to be bailed out, we're asking for a loan," Mike Green, the president of UAW Local 652, said at the time. "We're not asking for a handout, we're asking for a hand up."

The $50 billion loan was approved, a new version of GM emerged, the taxpayers recouped their money, and the extended Green family kept working.

"I think the government made one of the best investments it ever made," Green, now 50, told CNN this week. "I'd like to thank the American public for having faith in an American company."

Green has been re-elected as president of UAW Local 652, his sister Cindy DeLau continues to work on assembly line ergonomic improvements, and his son Rollin, 26, is "hanging in" at GM's Delta Plant, just west of Lansing, despite having been laid off a couple of times in the last three years.

Painful concessions by the UAW were part of the survival plan, Mike Green noted.

"Because of the sacrifices of the membership, we made it through," he said.

Not only did GM survive, but it's bringing 600 to 700 more jobs to Lansing next year when production starts for a new Cadillac product.

"It's been good for Lansing," Green said. "We appreciate that GM is bringing work here. That's what we do here. You bring it, we'll build it."

More updates

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Life a struggle, but she won't quit

Thriving at home after 13 years on death row with multiple sclerosis

Strangers still thank football star who stopped gun-wielding student

Owners of 'last house standing' part of peninsula's comeback


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Filed under: Auto Industry • General Motors • Labor • Michigan
Obama's tout, auto bailout can't keep Ohio eatery cooking
President Obama has lunch at Rudy's Hot Dog in Toledo, Ohio, last week.
June 10th, 2011
11:33 AM ET

Obama's tout, auto bailout can't keep Ohio eatery cooking

A tout from President Obama wasn't enough to keep a Toledo, Ohio, restaurant in business.

New Chet's Restaurant, which has been serving home-cooked meals since 1973, will close Sunday, a little more than a week after the president mentioned the eatery during an appearance at a nearby Chrysler Jeep plant.

Obama was in Toledo to talk about the success of the auto industry bailouts, which helped keep Chrysler in business.

"This plant indirectly supports hundreds of other jobs right here in Toledo. After all, without you, who'd eat at Chet's, or Inky's, or Rudy's," the president said last Friday.

The current level of business from the Jeep plant doesn't measure up to what it once was Chet's owner, Richard Lawrence, told CNN affiliate WTVG.

"When they were going full blast, it was wonderful, but when they opened, closed, and closed the shifts, it never came back. We used to deliver $500 a week in food, now $100," he said.

But another piece of government legislation may have been the biggest hit on Chet's business - a 2006 state law banning smoking in public places.


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Filed under: Auto Industry • Barack Obama • Chrysler • Economy • Food • Ohio • Politics
June 3rd, 2011
07:33 AM ET

On the Radar: Doughnut day, Obama in Toledo, Shaq's announcement

Three things you need to know today:

National Doughnut Day: Friday is the day America celebrates the doughnut.

National Doughnut Day originated with the The Salvation Army in Chicago in 1938 as a salute to the women who served doughnuts to U.S. soldiers during World War I.

The Salvation Army's "doughnut lassies" continued that service during World War II and cemented the doughnut's place in the American diet. If you want to try to duplicate the doughnut lassies' work in your kitchen today, The Salvation Army is providing their original recipe.

If you're not in the mood to celebrate National Doughnut Day in the kitchen, try heading down to your local Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' Donuts.

Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut to all customers at participating locations.

At participating Dunkin' Donuts, customers will get a free doughnut with the purchase of a beverage.

Obama and autos: President Barack Obama heads to Toledo, Ohio, on Friday where he'll visit Chrysler's Jeep Wrangler assembly plant.

Obama will use the Toledo visit to emphasize why the government bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors were successful, CNN affiliate WTVG in Toledo reports.

Chrysler announced recently that it will repay government bailout loans six years ahead of schedule.

Among those expected to be in attendance for Obama's visit is Jeep assembly line worker James Fayson, according to a Toledo Blade report.

Fayson, 36, will appear in Obama 2012 campaign commercials explaining how the bailout allowed him to return to work after being laid off in 2009, the Blade reported.

Shaq's announcement: Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal will formally announce his retirement from basketball Friday during a news conference at his Florida home.

O'Neal first said Wednesday afternoon that he was going to hang up his jersey. The 39-year-old posted a link to a video on his Twitter account.

In  a brief message he said: "We did it. Nineteen years, baby. I want to  thank you very much. That's why I'm telling you first. I'm about to  retire. Love you. Talk to you soon."

O'Neal has been dogged by injuries in the latter stages of his career and played only 37 games for the Boston Celtics this season after struggling with an Achilles tendon problem.

He returned for two playoff games against the Miami Heat but managed just 12 minutes and he told an ESPN reporter that he didn't want to let Celtics fans down.

O'Neal won three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers after forming a devastating partnership with Kobe Bryant, and added a fourth in 2006 with the Miami Heat.

With 28,596 points, O'Neal is fifth on the all-time NBA scoring list and is second only to Michael Jordan on the all-time list of NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Basketball • Chrysler • Economy • Food • Jobs • Sports
Riot police break up sit-down strike at South Korean auto parts plant
South Korean riot police break up a sit-down strike at an auto parts plant on Tuesday.
May 24th, 2011
09:41 AM ET

Riot police break up sit-down strike at South Korean auto parts plant

Riot police backed by helicopters and water cannons broke up a sit-down strike by union workers Tuesday at an auto parts plant in South Korea, media there reported.

The strike at the Yoosung Enterprise factory in Asan threatens to cripple production at Hyundai, Kia, GM and Renault plants in South Korea, The Korea Times reported.

Hyundai and Kia get 70% of their engine components from Yoosung, according to the Korea Times.


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On the Radar: GM jobs, Obama on immigration, Memphis flooding
GM may add up to 2,000 jobs to produce the Chevy Volt.
May 10th, 2011
08:28 AM ET

On the Radar: GM jobs, Obama on immigration, Memphis flooding

GM jobs: General Motors will announce Tuesday a plan to add or preserve 4,200 jobs, the Detroit Free Press reports, citing "people familiar with the planning."

Up to 2,000 of the jobs will be in the metro Detroit area, the paper reported, with many of those going to the plant that produces the Chevy Volt, GM's extended range electric car.

GM is now planning on building 25,000 Volts this year, up from an earlier estimate of 10,000, the Free Press reported. It is considering building 120,000 Volts a year beginning in 2012, the paper said.

Immigration speech: President Barack Obama heads to El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday to give a speech on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president's speech is likely to highlight border security improvements and the economic costs stemming from a failure to change course. And senior administration officials said the speech will kick off a campaign-style effort to rally support for an overhaul.

Obama wants to create "a sense of urgency around the country that matches his sense of urgency," one administration official said.

Mississippi River flooding: The Mississippi River level stood at 47.8 feet in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday evening and is expected to crest at 48 feet today, forecasters said.

The Mississippi is the highest it's been at Memphis since 1937, when it crested at 48.7 feet - 14.7 feet above flood stage. That flood killed 500 people and inundated 20 million acres of land, said Col. Vernie Reichling, the Army Corps of Engineers' Memphis District commander.

On the Radar: Funerals in Hudson drownings, Japan restrictions, car award
A memorial is left at the site where a mother and her three children drowned in a minivan in the Hudson River.
April 21st, 2011
06:42 AM ET

On the Radar: Funerals in Hudson drownings, Japan restrictions, car award

Hudson drownings burials: Lashanda Armstrong, who killed herself and her three young children by driving her minivan into the Hudson River last week, will be buried in Spring Valley, New York, on Thursday, but relatives' plans to bury her children alongside her will not be carried out, according to media reports.

The father of the three children, Jean Pierre, announced Wednesday the funeral and burial of the children would be separate from that of their mother.

“After consulting with the Armstrong family, I have decided that the funeral arrangements for Landen, Lance and Laianna should be separate from that of Lashanda’s. My deepest sympathy goes out to La’Shaun and the Armstrong family," Pierre said in a statement released by his lawyer, according to a report in the Poughkeepsie Journal. "I ask that I be given the opportunity to grieve the loss of my three children privately," he said.

That angered Armstrong's aunt, Angela Gilliam, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

"She should be buried with her children, regardless of what she did," the Daily News quoted Gilliam as saying.

The children, an 11-month-old girl, a 2-year-old boy and a 5-year-old boy, will be buried Monday.

Another child, 10-year-old Lashaun Armstrong, escaped the vehicle as it was sinking in the Hudson.

Nuclear zone restrictions: On Friday, Japan will begin enforcing an evacuation order on a 20-kilometer zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a top government official said.

The restriction –in place since the early days of the nuclear disaster - has often been ignored.

Many of the about 78,000 people who have homes in the evacuation zone have gone back in recent weeks to retrieve belongings, and check on farms and businesses.

No one will be allowed within 3 kilometers of the crippled nuclear facility and entry within 20 kilometers of the plant will be highly regulated, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters Thursday.

People who temporarily return to their homes, businesses and farms must wear a protective suit and ride into the restricted zone on a designated bus.

Car of the Year: The winner of the World Car of the Year will be announced at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday.

Finalists are the Audi A8, the BMW 5 Series and the Nissan LEAF, whittled down from an original list of 39 entries.

A panel of 66 automotive journalists from 24 countries votes for the winner.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Auto Industry • Japan • New York
Reeling from quake, Japan automakers cut output in U.S. plants
A team member at Honda's Greensburg, Indiana, plant works on a Civic a week after the Japan earthquake.
April 9th, 2011
07:39 PM ET

Reeling from quake, Japan automakers cut output in U.S. plants

Ripple effects from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan continued to be felt by the U.S. work force this week as Japanese automakers announced cuts in plant production at North American factories.

While the cuts were expected, the news signals the long road ahead for Japan's economy, the world's third largest, and how other nations will be affected.

Japan's big three - Honda, Nissan and Toyota - and the global auto industry are  increasingly hampered by parts suppliers in Japan who are struggling in the aftermath of the worst disaster to strike the island nation since World War II.


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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Auto Industry • Earthquake • General Motors • Honda • Toyota
Fruit could make cars stronger, more fuel-efficient, scientists say
Bananas could be raw material for car parts, Brazilian scientists say.
March 28th, 2011
08:49 AM ET

Fruit could make cars stronger, more fuel-efficient, scientists say

Get ready for a bananamobile or a pineapple wagon.

Scientists in Brazil say they've developed a way to use fibers from the fruits to make strong, lightweight plastics that could be used to form car parts.

"The properties of these plastics are incredible," the leader of the project, Alcides Leão of Sao Paulo State University,  said in a press release. "They are light, but very strong — 30 per cent lighter and three to four times stronger. We believe that a lot of car parts, including dashboards, bumpers, side panels, will be made of nano-sized fruit fibers in the future. For one thing, they will help reduce the weight of cars and that will improve fuel economy."

The product is almost as strong as Kevlar, used in bulletproof vests, Leão said in presenting his team's work to the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, California, over the weekend.

Among the plant products that could provide raw material for the fibers are pineapple leaves and stems, bananas, coconut shells, agave, and cattails, the scientists say.


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Filed under: Auto Industry • Brazil • Science • World
CNNMoney: Toyota tells U.S. plants 'prepare to shut down'
Factories in North America may have to close if parts shortages become acute.
March 23rd, 2011
05:28 PM ET

CNNMoney: Toyota tells U.S. plants 'prepare to shut down'

Toyota's U.S. manufacturing arm is preparing for a possible shutdown because of parts shortages from Japan, a Toyota spokesman said, according to CNNMoney.

Word has gone out to all 13 of Toyota's factories in the United States, Canada and Mexico. This does not mean that the plants will stop working, Toyota spokesman Mike Goss said, but that they should be ready in case the need arises.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Japan • Toyota
Japanese company announces breakthrough in carbon fiber technology
Teijin's concept vehicle has a carbon frame that weighs one-fifth of a conventional frame.
March 9th, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Japanese company announces breakthrough in carbon fiber technology

A Japanese company on Wednesday said it has developed a process to make lightweight car frames at mass production speeds, a process that could make vehicles more efficient and save energy.

Teijin Limited said in a press release it can mold an automobile frame of carbon fiber reinforced plastic in under 60 seconds.

"The breakthrough overcomes one of the biggest challenges in the industry and represents a long stride toward the use of carbon fiber for the mass production of automobiles and other products," the company's statement said.


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Filed under: Auto Industry • Japan • Technology
Thursday's intriguing people
Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford says there's an urgent need for solutions to gridlock.
March 3rd, 2011
03:28 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Bill Ford

The chairman of Ford Motor Co. is calling for an end to "global gridlock." During a presentation at the annual TED conference Wednesday, Ford said that as many as 4 billion automobiles will be on the earth by the year 2050 — extending traffic jams, delaying food provisions and stalling health care delivery. He's calling on a collective group of transportation officials, manufacturers and policy makers to develop a global solution to gridlock. "[Without it] our quality of life will be significantly compromised," he said.

Salman Khan

When the former hedge fund manager began posting humorous math tutorials on YouTube for his young cousins, they not only loved it, but it quickly earned a grass roots following. Today, the Khan Academy offers 2,000 such tutorials, ranging from basic addition to vector calculus - for free. Khan conducts all the tutorials for his audience of 1 million students. This past year, a northern California school district began using a Khan-developed curriculum that uses data analysis and self-paced learning to help its teachers better work with students individually. Following Khan's rousing presentation at the annual TED conference Wednesday, Khan supporter Bill Gates told the audience: "I think we've just gotten a glimpse into the future of education."

Peter Hatas

The homeless veteran has raised $20,000 toward converting the St. James hotel in North Toledo, Ohio, into a home for military veterans. An engineer by training, Hatas told Toledo's WUPX news that he needs just $55,000 more to make the project a reality. He has reportedly received e-mails of support from CSX railroad system, as well as the Veterans of the UAW. The building will give homeless veterans a place to eat, sleep and work, Hatas said. "A lot of these men and women on the streets have phenomenal skill traits," he said. "They are carpenters, brick layers, cement finishers, iron workers." He believes these contributions will keep the building in perfect condition.

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